WPIAL Football Playoff Quarterfinals Recaps

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 | 12:31 AM


While there were some hints early on, some ooohs and aaahs as certain scores trickled in with upset alert written all over them. But in the end, 14 of the 16 higher seeds won and advanced with the lone exceptions begin a couple of #5 seeds defeating two #4 seeds. Here are ALL the recaps from the 16 games on Quarterfinals Friday, with archives of all these games available on The Network.

A special thanks to Brandon Showers, Gero Von Dahn, Sean Meyers, Adam Hoerner, Paul Paterra, T.J. DiStefano, Sam Hall, Rob Matzie, Dennis Fischer, Rob Longo, Bob Orkwis, Randy Gore, Charlie Weston, Mark Schaas, Bob Barrickman and Bob Gregg for their help on these recaps.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:

Pine-Richland Rams 49 – Altoona Mountain Lions 7
It was another big night for QB Ben DiNucci and the Pine Richland Rams. They took Altoona down, 49-7. It didn’t take long for the winners to establish their game plan. Di Nucci hit WR Mike Merhaut with a short pass that he took 65 yards to the end zone. 13 seconds in, the Rams were up 7-0. The PR defense did not allow Altoona to get much going throughout the game, though RB Eli Mencer did go over 100 yards for the game. Di Nucci hit WR Antonio Battaglia with 5 seconds left in the first quarter to double their lead, but it was a 70 yard catch and run for Battaglia with 37 seconds left before half time that broke the Mountain Lions’ backs. Altoona CB Sean Steave thought he had knocked Battaglia out of bounds near the 20, but Battaglia just shrugged off the hit and kept going. Altoona scored following a punt return in the 3rd quarter put them on the Rams’ 10. A penalty against Altoona left them with 4th and goal at the 18 when Mencer threw a pass to QB Devin Miller for a score. That cut PR’s lead to 21-7. They could get no closer. Connor Slomka scored three straight touchdowns to run the score up to 42-7 and James Graf set the final score. DiNucci finished 15-23 for 368 yards and 3 touchdowns. He went over the 3000 yard mark for the season and over 6000 for his high school career. Pine Richland will play McKeesport next week. Altoona finishes their season at 8-3.

McKeesport Tigers 20 – Plum Mustangs 5
When one thinks of the McKeesport Tigers, the first thought is of an explosive offense loading up the scoreboard with big plays. There was a little bit of that as the Tigers (10-1) did score three touchdowns on long runs – a 61-yard scamper by TyWann Smith and scoring jaunts of 34 and 27 yards by Tymar Sutton. However, the calling card to this win was the Tigers’ defense. Specifically, the key to the win was the relentless pressure the defense heaped upon Plum quarterback Will Fuhrer. Plum’s senior signal caller completed just 8 of 25 passes for 97 yards. Four of his passes were intercepted. Many other times Fuhrer was sacked, hurried or just plain harassed by the Tigers’ D, especially sophomore defensive end Davon Brown, who seemed to take up residence in the Plum backfield. As for the Tigers’ offense, Sutton was the key to the attack. The junior started the game at fullback in the Flexbone, but moved to quarterback after Smith left the game in the second quarter. Sutton paced the McKeesport ground game with 152 yards on 13 carries. Smith had 81 on five carries before he left the game. It also was a contest marked by penalties with numerous unsportsmanlike conduct calls coming as a result of action after the whistle. Plum saw its successful season come to an end with a 6-5 record. The Mustangs made the playoffs just one year after snapping a 25-game losing streak. Last week’s 17-6 victory over Penn Hills was the first in the postseason for Plum since 1996. The Mustangs’ defense ended its season with a solid stat, not allowing anyone to score more than 20 points against it all season. the defense did force a McKeesport safety and recovered a Smith fumble on the second play of a game to set up a 35-yard field goal by Jacob Chapla, his ninth of the season. McKeesport advances to play number one seed Pine-Richland in the WPIAL semifinals Nov. 14 at a site to be determined.

Penn-Trafford Warriors 35 –  North Allegheny Tigers 31 
Second-seeded Penn-Trafford rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit for a 35-31 victory over seventh-seeded North Allegheny in the WPIAL quarterfinals at Fox Chapel High School. Warriors’ quarterback Brett Laffoon threw for 280 yards and five touchdown passes, including two scoring strikes in the final period to lead Penn-Trafford to its second straight trip to the WPIAL semifinals. Trailing 14-10, North Allegheny marched the opening possession of the second half 67 yards, and converted on a 4th and 2 deep in PT territory, for a 6-yard touchdown run by Josh Bergman to vault the Tigers ahead, 17-14. The touchdown was Bergman’s second of the night as the senior tailback finished with 61 yards on 10 carries.   The Warriors ensuing possession ended on a 4th and 7 from the NA 40 yard line, when Laffoon was sacked by Paul Blendinger and coughed up the football at the Tigers 45.  One play later, the Tigers scored on a 55-yard reverse by Ethan Maenza to give the Tigers a 24-14 advantage. From that point on, the game was a track meet with each team trading punches.  Timmy Vecchio scored on a 44-yard screen pass with 2:15 to go in the third quarter to cut the Tigers lead to 24-21, but NA answered with a 24-yard touchdown pass by Jeff Clemens to Blendinger bring the score to 31-21 with 11:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. Laffoon again answered with a touchdown pass, this time a 57-yard strike to Vecchio to make it 31-28, Tigers, with 8:50 to play.  Vecchio finished the night with eight catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Following Vecchio’s score, the Warriors successfully recovered an onside kick and turned the gamble into points.  An eight-play drive culminated on a beautiful 12-yard touchdown catch by Austin Zegarelli in the back of the end zone to put Penn-Trafford ahead to stay, 35-31.  North Allegheny had two more chances to answer but both drives ended on interception by PT’s Joe Peduzzi to clinch to the quarterfinal victory for the Warriors. North Allegheny’s season ends with an 8-3 record.  Penn-Trafford remains undefeated at 11-0 and will battle the Central Catholic Vikings in the WPIAL semifinals next week.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings  28 –  Woodland Hills Wolverines 0
The third-seeded Vikings received a stellar defensive effort at Newman Stadium in Wexford as the Central defense held Woodland Hills to 133-yards rushing and added two touchdowns in the 28-0 shutout win at North Allegheny. The Vikings special teams recorded the only score of the first half, when senior John Petrishen returned a punt 55-yards for a score just over 4 minutes into the game.  The Wolverines fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, but Mitch MacZura missed a 40-yard field goal attempt and the score remained 7-0 Pittsburgh Central.  The Woodland Hills defense was up to the task as well in this WPIAL AAAA Quarterfinal matchup as the Vikings managed only 143-yards rushing in the contest.  There were 15 total punts in the game, with the teams combining for 9 of those in the first two quarters. Rashad Wheeler would score the game’s next points as the junior defensive lineman picked up a Miles Sanders fumble and returned it 25-yards to give the Vikings a 14-0 lead halfway through the 3rd quarter.  With 6:13 remaining in the game, Pittsburgh Central Catholic added the game’s only offensive touchdown on two nice back-to-back runs by junior running back Vinny Emanuale. Emanuale galloped 25-yards to the Wolverines 28-yard line and then scored from there on the next play from scrimmage upping the Vikings lead to 21-0. Not to be outdone, the Central Catholic defense put the icing on the cake taking advantage of the 4th Woodland Hills turnover of the game. Cullen Buckley wrapped up the Wolverines Jeremiah Jones and when the junior quarterback tried to get rid of the ball to avoid the sack, it hit a helmet and bounced up in the air and into the waiting arms of the Vikings sophomore defensive end Kurt Hinish. Hinish took the pick-six 32-yards to the end zone for the final score of the game. Emanuale finished as the game’s leading rusher with 91-yards on 18-carries. Sanders ended his fine junior season with 85-yards rushing to finish 2014 with 1,248-yards on the ground. The game marked a rematch of last year’s Quad-A Championship which Central Catholic won 27-7. Woodland Hills, seeded 6th in the tournament, ends the season at (8-3). The Vikings improved to (10-1) while posting their fifth shutout of the year. Pittsburgh Central Catholic gets another rematch from last season’s WPIAL Playoffs when they face Penn-Trafford next week. The second-seeded Warriors came from behind to defeat North Allegheny 35-31 to improve to (11-0). The Warriors and the Vikings matched-up in the 2013 semi-finals and Central Catholic defeated Penn-Trafford 49-10 at West Mifflin High School on its way to capturing the schools 4th WPIAL AAAA Title.

WPIAL CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:

Central Valley Warriors 41 –  Indiana Little Indians  14
The Central Valley Warriors wasted little time jumping out in front of the Indiana Little Indians 21-0 in the first quarter.  A 9 yard run by Jordan Whitehead coupled by two touchdown passes from John George, 11 yards to Kurt Reinstadler and 20 yards to Joey Shively enroute to a 41-14 quarterfinal win. The Little Indians were without their starting Quarterback Jake Zilinskas who was out with a concussion suffered in last weeks first round playoff win.  Zilinskas was replaced by starting wide receiver Dylan Stapleton who was no match for the Warriors defense as he was 3 of 11 for 25 yards versus the starting defense.  Central Valley would score two more scores in the first half with a 42 yard pass play from George to Whitehead and a 38 yard run by Whitehead to lead at the half 35-0.  George would finish the night at the half 8 of 15 for 122 yards and 3 TD’s.  Whitehead also would be done at the half rushing 11 times for 127 yards and 2 TDs and one TD thru the air.  The Warriors would add their final score in the third quarter on a 12 yard run by Kyle Vreen.  The Little Indians would score twice in the second half against the Warriors second team defense on an 86 yard Interception return for a touchdown by John Gatti and a 5 yard run by Dylan Stapleton.  Central Valley moves to 11-0 and will face Ringold in the Semi-finals while Indiana ends their season at 7-4.

Ringgold Rams  21 – Hampton Talbots 20 in Overtime
The Ringgold Rams advanced to the semifinals of the WPIAL Triple A football playoffs with an exciting 21-20 overtime win over the Hampton Talbots at West Allegheny High School on Friday night.  After a scoreless first half, the #5 seeded Rams struck first when George Martin connected with Dalton Holt from 22 yards out with 5:22 to play in the third quarter.  Josh Briscoe added the extra point.  Less than four minutes later, #4 Hampton’s defense evened the score when linebacker Shane McMillen picked up a fumble and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown, Sam Werling converting the point after.  Just 29 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Talbots took their first lead, 14-7, when Gus Schmitt hauled in a 52 yard pass from Nick Grabowski, Werling again converting on the extra point.  But the Rams rallied behind quarterback Nico Law, who scored from the one yard line with 40 seconds remaining and, along with Briscoe’s extra point, sent the game into overtime tied at 14.  Ringgold scored in just two plays, Law taking it in from three yards out, again Briscoe converting on the point after.  Hampton matched that score when Matt Rech scored from the 10 yard line on the first play the Talbots ran.  Hampton lined up to kick the extra point but, when Ringgold called time out to ice Werling, the Talbots changed plans and decided to try for the two point conversion. Rech was stopped at the one yard line.  Ringgold (10-1) will meet Central Valley, a 41-14 winner over Indiana in another quarterfinal match-up, in the semifinals next Friday at a site to be determined.  Hampton ends it’s season at 9-2.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 28 – Mars Fighting Planets 13 
The Thomas Jefferson Jaguars advanced to the semi-finals for a remarkable 16th time in 17 seasons with a 28-13 win over the Mars Planets at Chartier Valley high school Friday night. The Planets scored the first and the last touchdowns of the game but in between were totally shut down by a dominant and at times overwhelming TJ defense. Mars took the early lead on their second possession of the game when Jake Rosswog found freshman Rob Carmody for a 58 yard touchdown pass with 4:22 to play in the first quarter. Thomas Jefferson responded with a game tying drive that used 9:04 of game clock, and spanned 15 plays; 13 of which were Austin Kemp runs including a five yard run to tie the game with 3:08 to play in the half. The Jags absolutely dominated the time of possession battle in the first half of this game holding the ball for 17:40 of the first half to 6:20 for the Planets but, at the break we were tied at seven. That changed quickly in the third quarter. The Jags took the lead for good on a Kemp one yard run with 6:17 remaining in the third. Then on the ensuing drive for the Planets, Braden Pahanish came free on a blitz and picked up the trifecta with a strip, scoop and score jarring the ball loose from Rosswog and taking it in from six yards out and suddenly with 4:35 to play in the third the Jags had a 21-7 advantage. The Jags made it 28-7 with 5:48 to play in the fourth as Kemp took one in from 15 yards out, his third touchdown of the night and his 39th of the year.The Planets did not quit, Sam Morrissey in relief of Rosswog found Carmody in the end zone from 29 yards out to cap an 85 yard touchdown drive and with 3:47 left in regulation the Planets were still alive. Mars though, could not recover the onside kick attempt and the Jags were able to grind out the win on the ground. For the night Austin Kemp carried the ball 41 times for 201 yards and his three scores. Thomas Jefferson out gained the Planets 238 to 112. To give you an idea of how dominant the Jaguar defense was the two passes to Carmody aside the Planets totaled 25 yards of offense on the entire night. Mars leading rusher on the season Ori Rinaman, who led the Planets in rushing and was the fifth leading rusher in AAA for the year coming into the game carried the football nine times for a total of four yards on the ground in the loss for the Planets. Mars season comes to a close with a record of 7-4. Thomas Jefferson advances to the semi-finals with a perfect 11-0 to face the three seed West Allegheny next Friday night right here on….THE NETWORK!

West Allegheny Indians 37 – Franklin Regional Panthers 14 
West Allegheny’s quest for a three-peat remains intact, as the third-seeded Indians used a prolific running game to oust No. 6 Franklin Regional 37-14 in Class AAA quarterfinals in the North Hills. Chayse Dillon totaled 153 yards rushing and two scores, while Terence Stephens accounted for 118 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in the victory. Franklin Regional enjoyed early offensive success, as the Panthers found the end zone on each of their first two drives. Todd Summers’ 10-yard reception from Santino Birty put Franklin Regional ahead 14-9 early in the second quarter, but Stephens scored on a 4-yard run on the subsequent West Allegheny drive to put the Indians ahead. On the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers fumbled, and Justin Keast recovered on the Panthers’ 21-yard line. Stephens then scored on a 13-yard scamper to give the Indians a commanding advantage. Dillon added to the lead on the first West Allegheny offensive play of the second half, as he broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run. The Panthers offense could not sustain drives in the second half, as star running back Brett Zanotto was limited to just two carries, and the Panthers turned the ball over on three occasions in the contest. With the triumph, the Indians will face No. 2 Thomas Jefferson in the semifinals.

WPIAL CLASS AA Quarterfinals:

South Fayette Lions 39 – South Park Eagles 21
Friday’s Class AA semifinal between top-seeded South Fayette and No. 9 South Park was a tale of two halves. After an intriguing first half, the Lions put any speculation of an upset out of the question with a 39-21 win, a game that was much closer than the score indicated. South Fayette found the end zone first with a 4-yard touchdown run by JJ Walker in the first quarter. Prior to Friday’s game, Walker didn’t have any touches on the season. With a missed extra point, the Lions led 6-0. South Fayette looked like it would run away after Hunter Hayes 8-yard touchdown run in the middle of the second quarter put the Lions up 13-0. However, South Park stormed back thanks to Adam Staudt’s 40-yard touchdown run up the gut to cut the deficit to 13-7. The Eagles got the ball back before the break, and Nick Scholle’s quarterback sneak from one yard out with 21 seconds left in the half put South Park up 14-13. Heading into the locker room, it looked like South Fayette’s perfect season and 26-game winning streak was in jeopardy. Thing got even worse for the Lions early in the third quarter, when South Park took the opening kickoff and drove the length of the field to go up 21-13 on Scholle’s 6-yard rush. Despite all the momentum in favor South Park, Duquesne commit Brett Brumbaugh drove his team down the field and fired his first touchdown pass of the night to Dan Trimbur from 40 yards out. Brumbaugh connected with Ryan Schmider on the 2-point conversion to tie game at 21 with 2:28 left in the third quarter. After a three-and-out by South Park, Brumbaugh struck once again on the opening play of the fourth quarter. This time, he hooked up with Nick Ponikvar from 26 yards out. Another missed extra point made it a 27-21 South Fayette lead. For good measure, Brumbaugh found Ponikvar again – this time from 45 yards out – to go up 33-21 after the failed 2-point conversion. The final nail in the coffin came with 2:12 left in regulation when Walker found the end zone for the second time on the night with a 7-yard rush. The extra point was no good, but it didn’t matter, as South Fayette rolled to a 39-21 win, a lot closer game than the Week 3 meeting between the two schools, where the Lions won handedly, 59-20. Despite the win, the Lions looked vulnerable. In the first half, Brumbaugh and his receivers weren’t on the same page, which included multiple dropped passes and even a few poorly thrown balls; one of which came early on in the first quarter when the Lions were in four-down territory. Brumbaugh overthrew his receiver to turn the ball over. At halftime, South Fayette was 1-4 on third-down conversions and 0-2 on fourth-down conversions. The Lions finished the evening 1-7 on third down. With the win, South Fayette advances to face another Century Conference foe in Seton-La Salle. When the two teams tangled earlier this season, South Fayette won 41-14. However, the Rebels were without Danzel McKinley-Lewis, a Toledo recruit and the team’s leading receiver. McKinley-Lewis was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected the week before at Quaker Valley.

Seton-LaSalle Rebels 28 – Highlands Golden Rams 21  
The WPIAL seeding committee had the 4 and 5 seeds right in AA playoff action, the two teams played an evenly matched game in the first half. The scoring started in the first half the second Rebels drive. The scoring came at the 7:30 mark when QB Tyler Perone hit a 28 yard TD pass to sophomore Paris Ford. Highlands would answer though when sophomore QB Braydon Thimons hit Jeremy Jackson on a 30 TD pass. Then we finished the 1st without another score. The 2nd quarter saw one touchdown total and that was in favor of the Rebels Perone hit Toledo commit Danziel MMcKinley Lewis on a 36 TD pass to go up 14-7 and the Rebels seemed to always have an answer to Golden Rams scoring drives. The second half started out all Elijah Jackson for the Rams. Jackson who was held to 12 yards on 7 carries in the first half told his teammates give me the ball and watch what I do with it. Jackson had a 36 yard touchdown reception from Thimons at the 6:07 mark of the 3rd quarter to tie it at 14. Seton-La Salle though able to answer off of a pass run bootleg from Perone. Perone rolled to his off hand side and there was nothing but green turf in front of him allowing him to go in from 12 out. At that point Elijah Jackson used his rushing ability taking 6 rushes for 36 yards capped off by a 1 yard TD run at the 0:51 second mark and we went  to the fourth tied at 21. The kick after the Jackson run was followed by a squib kick that to say the least had a questionable kick catch interference call. That set up Seton-La Salle early in the 4th to have McKinley Lewis rush in on a reverse from 13 yards out to put the Rebels up 28-21. Late in the game Highlands in the shadow of their goal posts on a 4th and 9 at the 1:50 mark in the fourth elected oddly to punt with only two time outs. It was a matter of one first down would end the game and allow Seton to move on to face their Century Conference rivals in South Fayette. The Rebels used the legs of Ricky Mellick who ran for 5 yards on first down then ran into the line on 2nd. After Highlands burnt their last time out the Rebels faked the run to Mellick and had Tyler Perone run on a naked boot to the left and he picked up 6 yards for the big first down. At that point is was time for the victory formation and the game to be over. The Rebels will go on to face top seeded South Fayette in a rematch of last years quarter finals. Leading stats  for the Rebels were Danziel McKinley Lewis 4 receptions 61 yards and a touchdown, Paris Ford 4 receptions 83 yards and a touchdown. Ricky Mellick had 21 carries for 71 well earned yards. Tyler Perone finished 11/22 for 188 yards and a touchdown. For Highlands Braydon Thimons was 10/16 136 yards and a touchdown. Elijah Jackson had 14 carries for 62 yards and a touch down. Elijah’s brother Jeremy Jackson led receivers with 8 receptions for 126 yards one touchdown and one interception.

Aliquippa Quips 40 – Mount Pleasant Vikings 0 
It was the Kaezon Pugh show Friday night as the #2 seed Aliquippa Quips roll over the #7 seed Mt Pleasant Area Vikings 40-0 in the quarterfinals at Canon-McMillian Stadium.  The Quips scored three times in the first quarter on three Kaezon Pugh runs of 56, 3 and 10 to lead 22-0 after one. The Quips added two more scores in quarter two on a Pugh 4 yard run and a Jassir Jordan 64 yard INT TD return giving Aliquippa a 34-0 lead at the half. The last score of the game would come in the third quarter as Kaezon Pugh caps off a huge night with a 3 yard touchdown that put the game into the mercy rule. There was no scoring in the 4th and the Quips win 40-0. Kaezon Pugh had 13 carries 194 yards and 5 TD’s. Aliquippa racked up 370 total yards of offense, 352 rushing and 18 passing. Mt Pleasant was only able to muster 173 total yards of offense, 111 on the ground and 62 thru the air. Aliquippa improves to 11-0 and will face Washington in the semifinals next Friday night. Mt. Pleasant ends the season at 8-3.

Washington Little Prexies 58 – Apollo-Ridge Vikings 30 
Washington scored four touchdowns in a span of less than six minutes on the way to a 58-30 win over Apollo-Ridge.  The Little Prexies rolled up 439 yards on the ground with Malik Wells (21-195) and Kurt Adkins (10-125) each crossing the 100-yard mark.  With the game tied, 14-14, Washington put together a 94-yard drive, DeQuay Isbell hauling in a 39-yard TD pass from Jonathan Spina with just under a minute to play in the second quarter.  After a 39-yard kick return by Tre Tipton, the Vikings had the ball at the Wash High 40.  Wells intercepted Duane Brown’s first-down pass, taking it into A-R territory with 31 seconds to play.  After picking up a first down at the 22, then taking a couple penalties, the Little Prexies faced fourth and 26 at the 38 yard line with 3.7 seconds remaining.  Spina’s pass to the left corner was underthrown and tipped by A-R’s Alex Smith, caught by Nate Swart and carried into the endzone, making it 30-14 at the break.  The Little Prexies quickly added two rushing scores to open the third quarter and rolled to the win.  Spina was 5-for-9 for 112 yards and two touchdowns for Washington (11-0).  Wells scored three times, Adkins and Isbell twice each.  Wash High totaled 551 yards of offense (439 rush, 112 pass) while holding Apollo-Ridge to 338 (151 run, 187 pass) .  For the Vikings (9-2), Brown threw for 173 yards, going 7-15-1, and ran for a touchdown.  Tipton caught six passes for 136 yards and one score.  Jonah Casella ran 19 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Apollo-Ridge managed just 135 yards in the first half, 44 in the second quarter, despite starting five of their six possessions at the 50 or inside WHS territory, twice being turned away on downs inside the 25 yard line.  Washington will face #2 Aliquippa in the semifinals, the third meeting in four years between the two schools.  Wash High leads the all-time series with the Quips, 6-4-1.  Aliquippa has won three of the last four meetings.

WPIAL CLASS A Quarterfinals:

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 20 – South Side Rams 6 
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic spotted South Side a 6-0 lead but came on to beat the Rams, 20-6 in a Class A quarterfinal contest held Friday night at Reeves Field on the campus of Geneva College.  Nathan Block, the third leading rusher in the WPIAL, scored on a 73-yard run with just over four minutes left in the opening quarter to give the ninth seeded Rams the early advantage.  Trojan running back P.J. Fulmore scored his first of three touchdowns midway in the second period to give Cardinal Wuerl a 7-6 lead at halftime.  Fulmore and teammate Jerome Turner entered the game as the only pair of running backs on one team in the WPIAL to gain over 1,000 yards.  However, Turner didn’t play due to a back injury.  Fulmore scored twice in the third quarter on runs of seven and 12 yards.  South Side had problems playing from behind and could not get any passing game mustered.  The Trojans, 11-0 have now won 27 games in a row and will face Black Hills conference foe Avonworth in the semifinals next week.  Cardinal Wuerl beat the Antelopes 28-0 in the regular season.  After going 0-9 a year ago, South Side enjoyed a huge turnaround season and finished 7-4.

Avonworth Antelopes 31 – Riverside Panthers 14  
Riverside (6-5) may not have gotten on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter Friday night at Moon Stadium, but it was really the turnovers which killed the Panthers in a 31-14 loss to Avonworth (10-1) in the WPIAL Class A Quarterfinals. The Antelopes got two short touchdown runs from Brandon Wasko in the first quarter, and a pair of Cole Pappas extra points made it 14-0. The eventual game-winning score came midway through the second period when Josh Drwal completed a 6-yard pass to tight end Chris O’Malley, this coming moments after Drwal returned an interception 69 yards deep into Riverside territory. Drwal would come up with another key pick with 30 seconds left until halftime, killing a Panthers drive at the Avonworth six yard line. Drwal and O’Malley hooked up again for the only score of the third quarter on a five-yard pass. Then a Cole Jenkins interception late in the third saw the Antelopes carry a drive over into the fourth, ending with a 37-yard field goal for Pappas. Riverside would finally get on the board with two big touchdown passes from Jason Dambach to Logan Sheridan of 81 and 53 yards, with the extra points tacked on by Courtney Harden. Dambaugh finished the night 15 of 29 passing for 265 yards. Sheridan totaled 152 yards on three catches while Ricky Wass caught seven balls for 61 yards. Drwal mustered over 100 yards of total offense, completing 9 of 13 passes for 72 yards while also rushing for 34 yards on five carries. Jamal Hughley ran the ball 14 times for 118 yards in the win, Wasko contributed 48 yards on eight attempts, and Kevin Simpson helped kill the clock in the second half with 60 yards on 17 carries.

Clairton Bears 68 – Shenango Wildcats 7 
The high powered Clairton Bears wasted little time in establishing their dominance over the Shenango Wildcats at Buccaneer Stadium in Chartiers-Houston.  After forcing Shenango to punt on their first possession the Bears rattled off 5 straight first downs and got a 10 yard touchdown run from Aaron Matthews.  That would open a stretch where Clairton would score 38 points in just over 10 minutes of football. Shenango would finally put together a 16 play 74 yard touchdown drive finished by a 5 yard scoring run from Hunter Waskin.  The problem for Shenango is they left 27 seconds on the 2nd quarter clock.  After receiving the ensuing kick, Clairton would get a 62 yard touchdown reception on a screen to Lamont Wade to make it 46-7 Bears at the half.  The mercy rule was perhaps the only hope to slow down the Bears in the 2nd half.  Three Clairton possessions all yielded touchdowns to make the Bears 9 for 9 in the game.  They outgained the Wildcats 525 yards to 159 for the game en route to the 68-7 final.  Bears QB Ryan Williams finished the night 7/14 for 221 yards passing and 2 TD’s.  RB Lamont Wade chipped in with 152 yards on the ground and 2 td’s plus a 62 yard touchdown catch.  Shenango ends their season 7-4 while Clairton moves on to the semifinals with a perfect 11-0 record.

Neshannock Lancers 46 – Jeannette Jayhawks 32 
The Neshannock Lancers got 168 yards rushing and two touchdowns from senior Eli Owens as the Lancers move on to the semifinals for the third straight year with the win at Deer Lakes High School on Friday night. Owens went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, he is now also has 3,812 yards for his career, just 188 shy of the four thousand yard mark. Quarterback Frank Antuono threw for 158 yards and two scores, he also ran for a pair of touchdowns as the Lancers go to 11-0. Jeannette’s Julian Batts opened the scoring with a 73 yard run 67 seconds into the game, Neshannock took a 13-7 lead on an Owens 7 yard run and Antuono’s 5 yard scamper. The Jayhawks took back the lead on a Terrell Canady 66 yard run before Antuono scored on a 2 yard run. Jeannette went back on top as Kareem Hall scored on a 1 yard run, but Neshannock added a Antuono pass to Jeff Sanflippo for 7 yards and a 25-22 lead at the break. Swade Redman tied the game with a 24 yard field goal in the third, Owens scored late in the quarter on a 10 yard run, but Zack Alteri broke a 73 yarder just 22 seconds later to tie the game at 32 after three. It was all Neshannock in the fourth, Antuono hit Rocco Fazio with a pass over the middle, the senior slotback bounced off a defender at the 20 yard line and went in for a 48 yard score to give Neshannock the lead for good, the Lancers took advantage of several Jeannette penalties to add some breathing room, Robert Lindsey scored on a 6 yard run and the Lancers were continuing on the Highway to Heinz. Owens carried 26 times but did fumble twice, the Lancers turned the ball over three times in the game. Jeannette also had three turnovers, Batts led the way for the Jayhawks with 132 yards on 16 carries. Jeannette finished 9-2, the Jayhawks remain on 698 wins in school history, two shy of 700.

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